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Duration
8 days
Activities
  • self guided cycle
Accommodation
  • 7 nights 3-4 star hotels
Meals
  • 7 Breakfasts

Price

$1360USD

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Overview

Trip Code: AIJ

Trip highlights


  • Exploring the old fishing villages and trading towns situated around Amsterdam's Lake IJssel
  • Cycling through classic Dutch landscapes
  • Visiting Amsterdam and the Hanseatic cities of Kampen and Elburg

Numerous highlights are packed into this carefully planned cycling route through the old fishing villages and trading towns situated around Amsterdam's Lake IJssel. As you pedal through classic Dutch landscapes, cycling below sea level at times, there is ample opportunity to visit the star shaped fortified town of Naarden and "Amsterdam Castle" (Muiderslot), along with Edam, famous for its cheese, the fishing village of Volendam, the island of Marken and the historical towns of Enkhuizen and Hoorn which flourished during the Golden Ages with the VOC (United East India Company). Explore the lakes of Friesland and the Weerribben-Wieden National Park with their rich birdlife, take in the Hanseatic cities of Kampen and Elburg and the old fishing villages of Harderwijk and Bunschoten-Spakenburg, where some locals still wear traditional costumes. If you plan to do just one cycle tour of Holland, this itinerary provides the quintessential Dutch experience.

Trip Grading

introductory to moderate

More info about grading system

Make your own way to your hotel in Huizen. Take the time this afternoon to stroll through the historic old village with its unique houses and the fishing wharf with its authentic fishing smacks (traditional 19th century sailing boats).

Meals:  Nil

Hit the tracks and head for Naarden. The town of Naarden is a good example of a star-shaped fortification (have a peek on google maps!). It’s very well preserved, complete with walls and a moat. Continue to the village of Muiden, at the mouth of the River Vecht. Although very picturesque in itself, Muiden is best known for its small moated castle, built around 1280 - well worth a visit! As the sun sets in Amsterdam, you could go for a leisurely stroll through the picturesque canal district.

Meals:  B

There’s so much to see and do in Amsterdam, so make sure you have an early start. We suggest a quick visit to the Gallery of Honour at the Rijksmuseum, which has had a make-over, before getting on your bike and heading into the peaceful countryside. The municipality of Waterland awaits, with meadows, wooden bridges and windswept reeds and rushes. The Museum de Speeltoren in the pretty village of Monnickendam explains (in English) the history of this extraordinary cultural landscape. You'll then cycle along the shore of Lake Markermeer to friendly Volendam. The quaint stone houses in the distinctive heart of the fishing village seem to have been drawn up without an organised street plan. "De Dijk”, overlooking the harbour, is lined with souvenir shops, pavement cafes and restaurants. Just around the corner is the pretty village of Edam. For centuries, small, round, salty cheeses produced by dairy farmers in neighbouring polders were shipped out of Edam and exported all over Europe. For six weeks in summer a traditional Wednesday morning cheese market is put on for tourists (10.30am, 2hrs) by local volunteers. At the end of the day, you’ll reach the lovely, historical town of Hoorn. Like Enkhuizen (see day 4), it has a history in whaling, shipbuilding, fishery and of course shipping. Both towns housed branches (“chambers”) of the Dutch East India Company (along with Delft, Middelburg, Amsterdam and Rotterdam).

Meals:  B

Continue up the shore of Lake IJsselmeer, atop the old sea dike, to the beautiful town of Enkhuizen. You can opt to visit the Zuiderzee Museum which tells the story of the days when ships from the Zuiderzee sailed the seven seas trading in bulbs and spices, when Holland dominated world trade and the Dutch East India Company was the first-ever multinational. This period is known as the Golden Age and roughly spans the 17th century. The museum has also combined a collection of local historical architecture with demonstrations of traditional trades. It's then time to catch the ferry* from Enkhuizen to Stavoren - a 1.5 hour crossing of Lake IJsselmeer. The lake was created in 1932 when a closure dike cut off the Zuiderzee from the North Sea, necessary to stop flooding of towns on the Zuiderzee. By 1940 the saltwater had been replaced by fresh water from the River IJssel. Except for the eel, none of the Zuiderzee fish survived, and a new fresh water fish population replaced them. On the other side of the lake, you will find yourself in Friesland province. The people of Friesland have their own language (a proper language, not a dialect) closely related to English. When they say butter, bread and green cheese, it sounds like English and not like the Dutch "boter, brood en groene kaas”. The length of this day trip includes the boat. * Note: the ferry must be booked (online) in advance, not included.

Meals:  B

In the morning, you will cycle through Gaasterland, undulating and woody, to the picturesque town of Lemmer, a favourite with boaters in summer. Next you'll head to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Wouda Steam Pumping Station, which has been operational since 1920 and was used to drain a lake. For centuries, windmills took care of water management in the Netherlands before steam engines took over. Nowadays most of the 1600 pumping stations are electrically powered. In the afternoon, nature lovers will enjoy the beauty of Weerribben-Wieden National Park, where water, reeds and rushes dominate the landscape. It is said to be the most valuable marshland of north-western Europe.

Meals:  B

After exploring Zwartsluis, popular with water sports enthusiasts, you will set off atop the old Kamperzeedijken (Kampen sea dikes) to the town of Kampen, which has one of the best-preserved town centres in Holland. Kampen was a member of the Hanseatic League, a northern European alliance of trading guilds in the 13th to 17th centuries, whose main aim was to ensure safe passage for travelling merchants. They also helped each other with information, knowledge, contacts and privileges. This network generated income, allowing merchants to invest in culture and architecture and explains why Hansa towns, centuries on, are so attractive. The River IJssel, which emptied into Zuiderzee sea, counted several Hansa communities on its banks. In the afternoon, jump back on your bike and follow the fringes of Veluwe Forest down to Harderwijk.

Meals:  B

This morning you'll pedal along the shores of Randmeren lakes. Arkemheen-Eemland is a wide open, empty and National Heritage landscape. The area was surrounded by dikes in the year 1360 to stop fields from being flooded by the sea. Arkemheen polder is special because the original lots are still intact. The lots are divided by curvy creeks, remnants of Zuiderzee tidal streams. Some plant species still recall the influence of salt water. Part of the polder is being preserved as a bird habitat for “Natura 2000”. The visitors’ centre has more information. Should you have an interest in the Age of Steam, you may like to visit another steam pumping station, Hertog Reijnout, which controlled water levels in the low-lying polder from 1883 till 1983. It's possible to shorten the cycling today to 49km/30mi by ferry (payable locally).

Meals:  B

Your trip concludes after breakfast.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts: Breakfasts are usually continental style and will consist of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices
  • 7 nights in 3-4 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • 21 speed bike rental with pannier, helmet, repair kit and lock (premium and e-bike available on request - supplement applies)
  • Information pack including route notes & maps per room booked (GPS tracks available on request)
  • Luggage transfer between hotels - limited to 1 piece of luggage per person weighing a max 20kg - excess charge for extra luggage items to be booked and paid before departure. Please note that small bags cannot be attached to the main luggage. They will be charged as separate pieces of luggage.
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to and from Amsterdam
  • All drinks, lunches and dinners. A dinner package can be booked which includes a 3 course dinner each night - supplement applies
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Transfers
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Ferry crossings - Enkhuizen to Stavoren on day 4 (allow EUR17pp including bike, subject to change)
  • Excess luggage - supplement applies. Each piece of extra luggage will be charged, cannot weigh more than 20kg per piece due to work safety rules.

Bike information


Grading

introductory to moderate  

This trip involves 5 days cycling between 35 and 63km (21.7 and 39mi) per day, usually along paved cycle paths and quiet county roads across generally flat terrain. In and out of the towns and cities there will be some traffic. You need only carry your camera/rain gear and water bottle. Your luggage is transported for you between hotels/inns. The trip is graded introductory to moderate and is considered suitable for beginners. *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list and we do provide one for each client.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 May to 23 Sep

Notes

H
High Season
DN1
High season is 12 to 24 May - supplement applies
DN2
April and May are busy months, especially in the province of South-Holland and we are already experiencing availability problems. At the end of April and early May there is a flower parade in Noordwijk-Haarlem area, Formule 1 Grand Prix racing in Zandvoort (dates tba - usually in May) and the Eurovision Song Contest (18-23 May) in Rotterdam. These events affect the availability of hotels in other cities in the region.

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$1360USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Premium bike supplementUSD$80
  • E-bike supplementUSD$130
  • Dinner SupplementUSD$250
  • Single supplementUSD$320
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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